OMHA VACCINATION POLICY
Version 2 – Issued: September 9, 2021
Purpose of Policy: To continue to protect the health and safety of all OMHA Participants by requiring that certain individuals be fully vaccinated as a condition of participating in OMHA Sanctioned Activities in accordance with defined timelines.
“Accepted COVID-19 vaccine” means a COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use by Health Canada.
” means any Vaccine-Eligible Players, Game Officials, OMHA Officials, Instructors, Association Officials, Team Officials and Volunteers.
“Association” means any Centre, Zone, Group or League, as those terms are defined in the OMHA Regulations.
“Association Officials” means any member of the board of directors, officers, executive and staff (including interns) of an Association.
“Fully Vaccinated” means fourteen (14) days after an individual has received a completed series of an Accepted COVID-19 Vaccine.
“Game Officials” means any referee, linesperson, timekeeper, or other person engaged in officiating a hockey game as may be designated by the OMHA.
“Instructor” means any person engaged by an Association or Team to provide specialized instruction (e.g., power skating, goaltending coaching) to players, who is not registered to any Association.
“OMHA” means Ontario Minor Hockey Association.
“OMHA Official” means any member of the board of directors, officers, executive and staff (including interns) of the OMHA.
“Participant” or “participant” means any person registered to the OMHA through any Association or Team, including the parents or legal guardians of any minor aged participant.
“Sanctioned Activity” means any game, tournament, on-ice practice, off-ice training, or any other activity involving hockey players and Team Officials that is approved by the OMHA or any Association, the Ontario Hockey Federation (or any of its member organizations) or Hockey Canada (or any of its member organizations).
“Team” means any group of certified Team Officials and rostered hockey players, who are qualified in a division and category under the OMHA Regulations, who have gathered for a Sanctioned Activity, including any Instructors, Volunteers or Association Officials.
“Team Official” means any person involved in the management of a Team and includes the coach, trainer, manager and any assistant coach or assistant trainer.
“Vaccine-Eligible Player” means any player born in 2009 or earlier.
“Volunteer” means any person registered by the OMHA or Association as a volunteer.
1. Policy Statement
The OMHA requires that all Affected Persons be Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19, in accordance with the remainder of this policy, as a condition of participating in any Sanctioned Activities during the 2021-22 hockey season. At present, this policy does not apply to hockey players born after 2009 or hockey spectators.
Public health guidance on measures for fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, and unvaccinated individuals continue to evolve and may affect this policy in the future. The OMHA reserves the right to amend this policy in response to any new guidance received from or regulations passed by federal, provincial and local public health and governmental authorities in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, this policy only applies to Associations, Teams and participants who are members of, or who are registered with, the OMHA. It is not intended to apply to teams and participants of any minor hockey associations operating outside of the OMHA, even if they are participating in any OMHA Sanctioned Activity (e.g.: tournaments/exhibition games). This policy is also not intended to limit any OMHA Teams from participating in sanctioned hockey events and activities in any other hockey jurisdiction outside the OMHA that may be governed by a different vaccination policy.
This policy is effective immediately, with due regard for the availability of Accepted COVID-19 vaccines.
2. Reason for Policy
The health and safety of all Participants is the top priority of the OMHA. The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and safety of all participants by reducing the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, an infectious communicable disease, among all persons involved in the OMHA, and to promote the health and safety of all members of the OMHA community, through vaccinations against COVID-19.
This policy is necessary to prevent, respond to, and alleviate any outbreak of COVID-19 in the OMHA because of the significant risk factors for COVID-19 infection that are present while participating in an organized hockey setting as a player and non-player, both on and off the ice. These risk factors include close contact in predominantly indoor closed-space environments (e.g.: arenas, dressing rooms, etc.).
The close contact nature of organized hockey makes compliance with social distancing impossible in certain circumstances and reduces the effectiveness of other infectious disease transmission protocols such as masking.
3. Affected Persons
This policy applies to the following Affected Persons, which includes the following persons:
• Players born in 2009 or earlier
• Team Officials (Coaches, Trainers and Managers, etc.)
• Game Officials (referees, linespersons, timekeepers, etc.)
• Association Officials (minor hockey association directors, officers, executive and staff)
• OMHA Officials (directors, officers, executive and staff, including hockey development personnel)
• Instructors (third parties engaged by Associations or Teams to provide specialized instruction (e.g., power skating, goaltending coaching)
At present, this policy does not apply to hockey players born in 2010 or later, or to hockey spectators.
4. Vaccination Requirement & Records
All Affected Persons are required to be Fully Vaccinated (i.e.: including the 14-day period after receiving their completed dose) by October 31, 2021 or earlier. All Affected Persons must present to their Association designate, as applicable, evidence satisfactory to the OMHA demonstrating that they have received the completed series of an Accepted COVID-19 Vaccine.
5. Acceptable Vaccines
The OMHA recognizes all vaccines approved by Health Canada. All Affected Persons will be required to confirm they are vaccinated regardless of which approved vaccine they receive.
6. Acceptable Documentation
Acceptable documents serving as evidence of COVID-19 vaccination include:
• A digital or physical Dose Administration Receipt.
• Medical records signed by a licensed health care provider indicating vaccine name and date(s) of administration.
• Government verification/language (e.g. Government issued vaccine passport or card)
The OMHA will comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) and provide an accommodation to any Affected Person who is unable to be vaccinated for substantiated medical reasons and/or on such other grounds protected under the OHRC, unless such an accommodation cannot be made without inflicting undue hardship on other Affected Persons.
If an Affected Person cannot provide the OMHA or their Association with satisfactory evidence of vaccination, the following will be taken into consideration by the OMHA:
• The Affected Person’s reason for not being vaccinated; and
• Documentation to substantiate a medical or protected ground reason for not being vaccinated.
Any Affected Person requiring accommodation must provide the OMHA with documentation to substantiate their reason for not being vaccinated. Where accommodation is not possible without undue hardship to other Affected Persons, the Affected Person will not be permitted to be involved in any Sanctioned Activity for the duration of the pandemic or until such time that COVID-19 no longer poses a significant public health risk.
The OMHA reserves the right to have accommodation medical documentation reviewed by an OMHA designated medical specialist and to make appropriate inquiries to verify the authenticity of any creed/religion-based claim for accommodation.
Any Affected Person who is granted accommodation must undergo regular COVID-19 testing and must provide evidence to their Association, as applicable, of a negative test taken not more than 72 hours prior to each Sanctioned Activity.
To begin the accommodation request process, please complete the application by visiting the following link: Link to Accommodation Request
8. Reporting & Record Keeping
All Affected Persons need to provide proof to their Association designate who will record proof of vaccination. However, the Association will not be required to keep any medical records or vaccination receipts on file. The Association designate will simply be required to confirm that proof has been provided and record and maintain on file a list of all Affected Persons who have provided such proof. All applications requesting an accommodation under this policy shall be filed directly with the OMHA, as provided above.
All documentary records about COVID-19 accommodations for will only be collected, used, retained, or disclosed by the OMHA as may be necessary for legitimate operational purposes or as directed or requested by governmental authorities or as may be required by law.
Until no longer required, all records retained under this policy must be kept in a secure location to which access is provided to only a limited number of designated persons who are involved in administering this policy, and no others. Once an Affected Person’s accommodation status has been verified and it is determined that there is no further need for the retention of such records, they shall be immediately destroyed in a secure manner.
9. Unvaccinated Affected Persons
On November 1, 2021, any Affected Person not Fully Vaccinated (i.e.: including the 14-day period after receiving their completed dose) or has not been granted an accommodation in accordance with Section 7, will no longer be eligible to participate in any Sanctioned Activities until such time as they have presented satisfactory evidence that they have been Fully Vaccinated or been granted an accommodation.
10. Players born in 2010 or later
At the present time, no COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for use by Health Canada for children born in 2010 or later. However, once a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for such persons, the OMHA will re-evaluate this policy and consider extending the definition of Vaccine-Eligible Players to include players born in those years.
This policy does not presently apply to hockey spectators, including the parents or guardians of players. However, taking into consideration the severity of COVID-19 cases within the OMHA’s jurisdiction and any new guidance received or regulations passed by federal, provincial and local public health and governmental authorities, Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Federation, the OMHA reserves the right to extend this policy to encompass spectators attending Sanctioned Activities.
It should also be noted that individual owners/operators of arenas and facilities used by the OMHA or any Association or Team, may impose their own vaccination requirements for hockey spectators.